Woodworking Tool Tips: The Router

When you are looking to make a wood working project fancy and add that finished look to it that makes it look professional, you will need a router. A router has often been touted as a must have tool for all wood workers because of its amazing versatility. When you have a router in your wood shop you will be able to create all sorts of amazing projects that look professionally finished.

There are two types of routers that you can choose from: a fixed base router or a plunge router. With a fixed base router you have to set the depth of the cut before you turn on the machine, and you cannot change it while you are working. This may become a problem for some more experienced wood workers. These machines are also lighter and less expensive than plunge routers.

Plunge routers allow you to change the depth of the cut while the machine is on. This is a great feature if you are making multiple passes on a piece of wood. There are depth stops to allow for an accurate depth while working as well.

When you have a plunge router you can invert it in a table and use it as a shaper and work with small pieces of wood as well.

It is important to remember that while most tools for the wood shop are rated by amps. Routers are rated by horsepower (hp) the heavier the tool, the more horsepower it will have.

When you are choosing a router you will notice that there are three bit sizes available to you. ¼” 3/8” and ½” The most common sizes are ¼” and ½” however if you can, choose a ½” router because these machines will accept ¼” bits as well if you purchase the adapters, however a ¼” router will not be able to accept ½” bits which will limit your project choices.

There are many different types of router bits available, and you will be able to change bits depending on your project and your own needs. Many of the new routers make changing bits easier than the older models which will eliminate some of the struggle.

The general rule with routers is that once you have one, you will not believe that you ever got by without one. It is best to splurge on a router and buy the best one that can afford for the best performance possible. You want a solid machine that will not shake or vibrate creating an unprofessional finish.